Everyone in Europe is challenged with today’s economic climate. Companies that have looked to reduce costs over the past few years need to focus more on the top line. But how can you grow revenue without spending more? It’s like a paradox, writes Fergus Gloster, European Managing Director, Marketo.
The answer lies in what you are doing already and also in what you are not doing. The vast majority of lead generation departments are generating plenty of leads (Good!) but they pass them to sales at the wrong time (Bad !). Put simply, for marketing (and sales!) the key is to adopt the “Less is More” approach.
Most lead generation teams are running a variety of great programmes that actually generate lots of leads that unfortunately aren’t closing. The majority of those marketing leads never close because they really aren’t given a chance to, by marketing or sales. The main reason is that the leads are either passed too early or too late. They get rejected or sent back to marketing, who become dismayed that all their hard work has yielded very little.
So what should the company be doing?
• Determine and agree with your sales team what a sales lead actually is
• Build a funnel that shows the complete flow from suspect to prospect to lead to opportunity
• Agree on the ownership and responsibility for each part of the funnel
• Implement a scoring system that will allow you to align the behaviour of the potential lead with your agreed goal of passing only qualified leads to sales
• Develop nurturing strategies and content to nurture suspects to become prospects to become leads etc. This doesn’t have to cost lots of money, often more brain power than budget
• Only pass those leads that meet the agreed criteria from marketing to sales
• In return for only passing those sales-ready leads, get assurances from sales that those leads will be followed-up promptly and agree on acceptable timeframes
As a result, you will be passing less ‘leads’ to sales (but you weren’t passing real leads before). However these leads will convert to opportunities at a much higher rate (In our own case, Marketo experiences a threefold improvement on conversion of leads that are nurtured over those that are not). Even if your sales team maintains their historical close rates, you will have created more deals closed from fewer ‘leads’. Less most definitely is more!
Colm Mulcahy, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of eSpatial, a provider of GIS (Geographic Information System) software based in Dublin. “The company was moving from a traditional, on-premise software model to SaaS-based delivery. The move to the cloud radically changes not only your technology delivery and business model, but also your sales and marketing process.”
The big challenge was how the company could manage a dramatic increase in sales leads from tens to thousands per month?
As a result of implementing a comprehensive online marketing programme, the company experienced a massive growth in monthly sales leads from tens to thousands per month. “The big challenge for us on a daily basis was how to qualify so many leads, and how to manage the good ones through the sales funnel.”
“Before we adopted Marketo, we were trying to manually process an ever-growing number of leads every day. As you can imagine, this was not only highly labour intensive and inefficient, but also eating into our valuable sales time. Using Marketo’s cloud based lead scoring
tool, these leads now are automatically qualified with little or no manual intervention,” says Mulcahy.
It is estimated that over 90% of B2B buyers search online first. “Marketo is able to capture, track and score leads whether they come from a website contact, free trial, Google Adwords or social media vehicles such as our blog, Facebook page, Twitter stream or LinkedIn,” comments Mulcahy. “Marketo is at the forefront of how today’s sales and marketing actually works. It even alerts us when people log in to their free trial of our software.”
eSpatial estimates that Marketo immediately boosted the productivity of its pre-sales operation by at least 50%
eSpatial estimates that Marketo immediately boosted the productivity of its pre-sales operation by at least 50%.
“Marketo allows you to approach the lead at the right time when it is most receptive. For example, B2B purchases are much more collaborative than B2C. Marketo identifies when a lead is getting warm, for example, when more than one stakeholder from the same company is accessing information on the website. This has huge benefits in terms of your sales productivity and revenue generation,” comments Mulcahy.
The automation of incoming leads has meant that staff who were previously deployed on lead analysis now spend their time more productively, demonstrating eSpatial’s software to prospective customers. This also releases more senior sales people to focus on quality prospects.